Tuesday, March 13, 2018
Cassette Review: Fire-Toolz "Drip Mental" (Hausu Mountain Records)
At this point in my life, I am willing to admit that I have become a hoarder of tape decks. It used to be this thing I was trying to do to try and sell them but then I didn't want to give them up. You know, people tell me often of how they can't find tape decks and I can usually find dual tape decks at Savers for under $20. I bought my first one, then a second for a backup in case the first one broke... then I needed a Walkman (waterproof), portable tape deck, etc. etc. and it just got out of control. Some of them that I have don't even work-- I just think they look cool.
Fast forward to about a month ago and I decided I needed a solid stereo, despite being a tape deck hoarder. I've always wanted one of these Crosley 5-in-1 deals because it will play records, cassettes, CDs and the radio and looks all vintage and cool so when I found one for the right price on eBay I purchased it. "Drip Mental" was the first cassette I played on it and I think my neighbors might not like me anymore because I wanted to test the volume to see how loud it could get and I'm also not always the best at paying attention to time when I don't have to, so...
When people ask me what type of music I like, I always struggle to come up with a single genre. I remember being a punk and being like "I like punk!", but things aren't as simple now as they were when I was fifteen. I've always been a fan of music which I have felt has gone without genre but I even feel like if I call that "genreless" it will turn into a genre and then someone will inevitably ruin it by tagging their terrible emo songs with it on Bandcamp. But "Mental Drip" is the second album I've heard in 2018 now that I would put without genre, so they're so slowly creeping into the scene and I hope one day they take over.
Sometimes, these songs by Fire-Toolz have an industrial feel to them. I mean like Nine Inch Nails, Orgy and Stabbing Westward. I had this sampler cassette of industrial grind music when I was a kid- it had KMFDM on it and this reminds me of that on one level, but on another level there is something different. These songs that could be from the 1980's in a new wave sense or hip hop beats can even be combined with the primal screams and general sense of this being harsh.
I've seen Fire-Toolz referred to as vaporwave but I don't know how to feel about that. I feel like there is this one side of the music which is upbeat, almost happy, and it has this beauty to it. Then you combine that with anger, the torment, the pain and what some would consider to be less beautiful. Just imagine people starting a moshpit at a Flock of Seagulls show I suppose. It'd feel about the same type of thing only this is still bits and pieces combined to form the whole, the extent of which cannot be grasped in full because the way the sound is finalized makes it hard to see the forest for the trees.
That isn't to say you won't go without hearing a cat meow on this album. There are some of those "found sounds", but hey, my old landlord called me on accident once at midnight and left me a voice mail of her watching television and you can hear cats meowing in the background. I couldn't turn that into a song somehow but I bet Fire-Toolz could. Also, a shout out to the old "You've got mail!" guy doing a guest spot on here. I grew up on AOL Mail and AIM but, you know, I still have AOL Mail (ask my mom about it, long story) and as such I still hear that dude every time I sign in. (Though something about getting an AOL app feels very wrong to me)
I need those codes. Beats remind me of "Run Lola Run" though I've been watching "The Flash" lately and keep hearing "Run Barry Run". There is an anime feel to it. I need those codes. Big, distorted beats. A cool sax does make me think this could be vaporwave though but it's only for a moment within the entire cassette so maybe not. I need those codes.